“We’re starting our tenth year of teaching. Is that crazy or what?” Freddy said.
“More ‘crazy’ than ‘or what,” his friend and colleague, Dan, replied. “Just think. Only 30 more to go until until full retirement, right?”
“Gee, thanks. I had no idea this was one of those ‘until death do us part’ kind of things.”
His friend laughed then said, “It’s actually a pretty sweet gig. We only work 180 days a year, get ten weeks off in the summer and a week or two for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and spring break. What’s not to like?”
“Yeah, no argument there. And we are surrounded by all kinds of hot pieces of ass, you know what I’m sayin’?”
He made a disgusting motion with his hips, and when his friend-since-college didn’t even smile, he said, “Come on, man. There are some freakin’ babes in high school, Danny Boy. Are you tellin’ me you’ve never once—not even one time—thought about, you know, hittin’ that?”
“Freddy? You’re a pig and getting worse every day.”
“Dude, I’m serious, so be honest. You’ve never, ever thought, ‘Hmmm. If I could get away with it, I’d’…”
He’d tried singing the Bow Chicka Bow Bow song and Dan finally laughed.
“Stick to teaching history, okay. Your improv sucks.”
“Okay, fine, but you still haven’t answered my question. Have you ever once thought…”
“No. Never. Not even once, okay?” Dan said getting rather annoyed.
“Not even Jami Anderson? Come on, man! She was so hot she could have spontaneously combusted at any moment just standing there. Not even her?”
“No, Freddy. Not even her. She was a beautiful girl, but she’s not my type. For that matter, no high school girl is my type and let me assure you, they’re not yours, either. Got it?”
Freddy was Frederick J. Thomas, Daniel Snyder’s onetime roommate as undergrads at the University of Washington where they’d both majored in secondary education.
“Not your type. Yeah, sure. Okay. So…do you even have a type? I mean, you no-shit have all kinds of hot female students crushing on you every year while their moms and other teachers are constantly hitting on you, too. Some of us would be happy to have just one out of three, and here you are with unlimited options yet I almost never see you going out. What’s up with that?”
Dan laughed then said, “It’s not even close to constantly, my friend.”
Freddy snorted then said, “Yeah, I guess that’s true. I mean, I have to admit I’ve never seen a woman hitting on you when you’re sleeping or…droppin’ a deuce.”
Freddy paused then before Dan could chide him for being crass again then said, “Hell, I’d be happy to have anyone crushing on me. Student, mom…Ms. Emerson.”
Dan smiled at the mention of Sarah Emerson, who was by far the best-looking female on staff. In fact, she was in a league of her own. Then again, people often said the same thing about Dan Snyder, and more than a few people thought they’d make the perfect couple and produce beautiful, perfect little babies. There was just one problem. Dan wasn’t attracted to her in spite of her beauty.
Freddy finished his thought by saying, “Dude, do you know how long it’s been since I got any puss…”
This time he stopped talking and sang it and did the hip thing. “Bow Chicka Bow Bow?”
“Freddy, Freddy, Freddy. What am I gonna do with you?” Dan said as she just shook his head.
Freddy started to answer so Dan cut him off.
“Don’t say, ‘Help me get laid, bro,’ again—please. Tell you what. Let’s go get you some beer so I don’t have to listen to your nonsense anymore, okay?”
“Yeah! Now you’re talkin’, my man! First round’s on you!”
“Just remember, some of us have to teach school tomorrow and go to school so don’t expect me to get hammered with you.”
“I don’t get it, man. A master’s cost a ton of money and it’s worth what? Two grand a year before taxes? You might break even before you retire,” Freddy said in his typical cynical way.
“I like math. What can I say? And yeah, I’ll more than break even in the long run. In fact, I’ll be graduating just before Christmas so put that on your calendar.”
“Yes! Another excuse to drink!” Freddy proclaimed.
Dan grabbed his keys knowing he’d have maybe two glasses of draught beer while his friend would have—two pitchers—or more.
Before he let he go of the question in favor of beer, Freddy asked the same thing one more time on their way to their favorite watering hole.
“Seriously, man, what is your type? You rarely date and you never hook up. If I looked like you, I be gettin’ laid seven days a week and twice on Sunday.”
“No, you’d be in jail for a very long time,” Dan said only half joking.
“You know what, Danster? If I didn’t know better I’d think you were a little light in the loafers. You know what I’m sayin’?”
Dan did know. In fact, he knew all too well. He’d been called ‘faggot’ and ‘boy toy’ along with many other pejorative things, many times over the years. He was absolutely, 100% straight, but took no offense at being called gay because Ankara travesti he knew people didn’t choose their orientation any more than they chose to be right or left handed. It just happened.
He fully understood the reasons why some thought he really was ‘light in the loafers.’ He took great pride in the way he looked, and dressed in what many called a ‘preppy’ kind of way. His thick, dark hair was always neatly trimmed and nicely styled. He was habitually smooth-shaven, and wore very dressy, button-down shirts and/or sweaters which were always carefully paired with the right pants, belt, shoes and socks. He even got his nails professionally done once a month or so. So, yeah. The criticism was based on a crude stereotype, but if the loafers fit…
Beyond that, he really was incredibly handsome, and Freddy was right. Every year Mr. Snyder had a new crop of groupies who batted their eyes at him while many openly flirted. He was religiously friendly with all of them, but every girl understood that Mr. Daniel Snyder drew a no-kidding ‘line in the sand’ when it came to anything beyond friendliness. He was never mean or rude, but he made sure whoever tried crossing that line got firmly set back behind it.
Lastly, he was highly respected as one of the best teachers in the entire school. He taught one trigonometry class to sophomores as well as freshman geometry, but calculus and especially AP calculus, was his specialty.
He had this uncanny ability to explain complex topics in easy, understandable ways and he would use multiple approaches to explain something until everyone got it. In those rare cases where an individual student just couldn’t get it, he would tutor them after school for as long as it took. Seeing the light finally come on was one of the things he most enjoyed about teaching.
At 32, he really didn’t date too often, and that was just fine with him, because he really did have a type—both physically and intellectually. If the woman didn’t fit his type in both areas, he wasn’t interested no matter how beautiful she might be. To wit, one Sarah Emerson. In those rare cases where he saw someone who met his external requirements, he immediately showed an interest in her in order to see if she was his type intellectually.
Physically, thin was in. A woman almost couldn’t be too thin. Very small breasts were a must, and soft, full, bee-stung lips were hugely important, as well. Beautiful, open eyes, high cheekbones, and long, soft, silky hair were equally necessary, but all that was for naught unless she also dressed in way that, as with him, said, “I take great pride in my appearance.”
If that was perceived as overly picky or even snobbish there was nothing he could do about it. He liked what he liked and after nearly two decades of liking the same thing, it seemed hugely unlikely that would ever change.
The intellectual side of his ideal woman included intelligence, which was very important, but it was much more than that. She also had to have a certain kind of ‘unstated sophistication’ about her but she couldn’t be pretentious. He looked for those things plus maturity, politeness, sweetness, and if she was maybe a bit on the shy side that was a huge plus. Confidence was fine but arrogance or being loudly-opinionated were deal breakers.
Dan was a logical, linear thinker so he knew that putting those kinds of limitations on ‘the playing field’ severely reduced the odds of ever finding a wife. Then again, he intended to marry once and for life and firmly believed that it was more than worth the wait to find the ideal woman.
So yes, he had a type, but he wasn’t about to get into it with Freddy. Not now, not ever.
“How about we talk about you, Frederico,” Dan said turning it back around on you. “I know your type is someone with breasts and a vagina, but don’t you want to meet someone and settle down?”
For a brief moment, his normally-gregarious friend got serious.
“Yeah, of course I would. But I’m the Oscar to your Felix,” he said using The Odd Couple analogy. “I’m…slovenly. Unsophisticated. Undisciplined. I’m a video game junky. I like beer—a lot. And let’s face it. I look a lot more like Jack Klugman than Brad Pitt.”
“Brad Pitt’s in his 50’s, my friend,” Dan said trying to help his friend out.
“Yeah. No shit. And yet he still looks better than me.”
Freddy rarely got down, but Dan knew he was right. He’d be a hard sell to any decent woman who didn’t bring a whole lot of her own baggage with her. It was very likely Freddy would never get married or if he did, the relationship would be highly dysfunctional. He hated to think that way, but it was hard to imagine Fred Thomas ever snagging a nice-looking, normal kind of woman.
Four hours and four pitchers later, Dan helped his friend stagger out to the car.
“You’re a good man, Danny Boy,” Freddy said, his speech heavily slurred. “Hell, if I was a chick, I’d be in love with you, too.”
“Uh-huh. Let’s get you home, good buddy. Tomorrow is our first day Konya travesti back. Thank God it’s a planning day without students,” Dan said as he helped Freddy fall into the back seat.
In spite of a horrendous hangover, Freddy slogged through day one, and by the day after Labor Day, the first day of school and three working days later, both teachers were ready for their students.
The first day was always devoted to administrative details. Lockers had to be assigned, books had to be issued, class rules, grades, homework, and other expectations had to be discussed, and teachers needed time to learn new names and faces. Having taught math there for ten years, Dan knew most of the students from the previous years, but there were always a few new faces, and Dan genuinely enjoyed getting to know them and hearing their stories about where they’d grown up, gone to school, etc.
As always, there were numerous young co-eds saying, “Hi, Mr. Snyder!” much too enthusiastically. Their male counterparts all noticed and inevitably, one or two would have to say something.
“Yo, Meghan. You better roll that tongue of yours up before you trip on it!”
The comment would be followed by raucous laughter from the other boys, a snide comment from the girl, and even snider comments from other girls who hoped to win their teacher’s favor.
“Eeew! Give it a rest already, Meghan! Mr. Snyder is like WAY out of your league, bitch!”
That girl would then look adoringly at her handsome teacher for any sign of his favor. None ever came, and his corrections were always gentle and kind which included something along the lines of, “Please find a more appropriate way to address your classmates.”
He scanned his class rosters one more time after the final bell and noted he had students missing from each of his five classes. In most cases, their friends let Mr. Snyder know when the absent student would be back from an extended vacation or the like. That left just two students unaccounted for, and in both cases he wasn’t familiar with the names. Connor Lane didn’t show for his 1st-period trigonometry class nor had Kimber Clymer for his 5th-period AP Calculus class. In order to be placed in an AP class, an administrator or guidance counselor would have to have reviewed her records so, in spite of his very strong desire to avoid her, Dan gave the senior-class guidance counsellor, Tammi Simmons, a call.
“Daniel! What a pleasant surprise. How may I help you on this first day of class? I…do make house calls, you know.”
She’d shamelessly flirted with him since being hired during the last two months of the previous school year, and she wasn’t slowing down.
“Kimber Clymer didn’t show up today. Did you by any chance place her in my 5th-period class and if so, do you have idea where she might be?”
“I did and yes I do,” she told him. “Bright girl. Straight-A student and AP classes in math and science the past two years at her previous school in California. She’s finishing up a paid internship with a pharmaceutical company in downtown Seattle and should be here tomorrow.”
Without being asked, Tammi offered some personal observations.
“She struck me as being rather atypical for an 18-year old, but not in a bad way. I can’t really put my finger on it but she seemed…I don’t know…more like a peer than a student, if that makes any sense. Nice kid. Very tiny, too. Not short just…I don’t know…whippet thin but also pretty in an emaciated kind of way. You’ll see.”
She finally took a breath then asked, “Can I do anything else, anything at all, for my favorite teacher today or…tonight?”
Dan chuckled and told her thanks and ‘no thanks’ in the kindest possible way. She let him know if he changed his mind he could drop by her place, unannounced, anytime with emphasis on the ‘any’ part as she reminded him yet again where she lived.
He hung up the phone just in time to see Freddy show up, who closed the door then said excitedly, “Dude, I have the hottest chick ever in my 3rd-period class!”
Dan raised an eyebrow but didn’t take the bait.
“She is freakin’ smokin’ and sat right up front wearing this really short skirt and tight…”
“Freddy?” Dan said giving him the eye.
“Okay, okay. But you gotta check her out, Danny Boy. Jesus, this girl is hot!”
“Jesus isn’t into girls, my man. At least not as far as I’ve ever been told,” he said with a smile.
“Buzz kill,” Freddy said quietly.
They talked about their first day for a few minutes then got ready to leave but were in no hurry as there was no sense even trying to go home until the busses cleared out.
Dan didn’t give his conversation with Tammi a second thought until the following day just before the start of fifth period. Several girls were talking rather animatedly about ‘the new girl’ so Dan casually eavesdropped as his students filed into the classroom.
“Have you seen this bitch?” one of them said to the other two.
“No, but I’ve heard she dresses like some kind İzmir travesti of…secretary or something,” the second one replied.
“Yeah! She dresses like she’s thirty or something. I mean, come on, right? Who wants to look like they’re old, anywayz?”
Dan knew better than to get involved, but that comment amused him so he said, “God forbid someone might look like they’re thirty. Talk about ancient!”
All three of them immediately went into apology mode once they realized their thirty-something hottie/teacher was listening. The near-swooning over Mr. Snyder who’d spoken to them began just as quickly.
“No! Thirty isn’t like old old, My. Snyder. Sometimes a guy who’s like thirty can be like…really hot!”
The other two chimed in with equally vacuous responses like, “Yeah! Totally!”
One of them said, “We didn’t mean you, Mr. Snyder. It’s just not cool for someone our age to want to look like…”
“Someone my age?” he said with a smile.
“No! I mean like…” the first girl said trying to get out of the hole she finally realized she’d just dug.
“It’s okay, ladies. I get it. But high school is the place where everyone is trying to figure out who they are. That’s why we have jocks and nerds and goths and…”
He kind of nodded at himself then said, “And…preppies. Right?”
The three of them were red-faced but still smiling adoringly.
“She’s probably doing the same thing so maybe cut her a little slack?” he suggested as nicely as possible.
They all nodded just as the bell rang and Dan noted there was still no Kimber Clymer. He finished taking attendance on his desktop and submitted it using the school’s app just as there was a knock on his door.
He glanced over and saw Tammi Simmons smiling at him as he reluctantly stood up to open the door which had to remain locked during class since Columbine.
“Ms. Simmons. What a pleasant surprise,” he said dryly as he let her in.
He turned away and didn’t see the other person with her but knew something was up when one of his female students made a face and another said loudly enough to be heard, “Oh..my…God. You’ve got to be kidding.”
Dan turned around and when he saw the younger girl with Tammi, he did a double take that was so obvious he felt a bit embarrassed.
“Mr. Snyder? This is Kimber Clymer, the um…unique student we were discussing when you called me after school yesterday.”
The way Ms. Simmons was smiling was so over the top the same girl said, “Geez. Give it a rest, woman.”
Tammi shot her a snide look then continued talking.
“As I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted…this is your missing AP student. Kimber, this is Mr. Snyder, our best math teacher.”
The same girl said, “Oh my freakin’ God! Someone needs to get real! Like she’s got a shot with Mr. Hottie Pants.”
The class erupted in laughter but Dan hadn’t taken his eyes off of the new student yet. He was trying not to stare, but it was a losing battle. It was as if the universe had read his mind and ginned up the physical personification of every single thing he fantasized about in a woman and hand-delivered her to his classroom here on earth.
She was undoubtedly a size zero with the most lithe-but-beautiful body he’d ever seen. She was tall for a girl and he guessed her to be at least 5’8″ but in the four-inch heels she was wearing, she was nearly as tall as he was. She was holding a white binder across her chest but it was obvious she was no bigger than an A cup—if that.
Her smile was angelic, revealing a set of perfectly straight, very white teeth set behind two very soft, puffy lips coated in shiny lip gloss. Just above was a nose he found to be equally as perfect as her smile and flanked by very high cheekbones and the most gorgeous blue, almond-shaped eyes he’d could ever remember seeing.
She wore her very dark hair parted to one side and fell to just below her shoulders in a cascade of silky smoothness. He couldn’t be sure, but it seemed that the only other makeup she wore was some mascara which gave body to her naturally-long, full eyelashes and made her gorgeous eyes absolutely pop.
Lastly, she was wearing a floral-print dress that fell to just above her knees along with a matching shrug that gave a very sophisticated, model-like appearance. Or perhaps that of a well-paid executive assistant at a successful law firm.
“Mr. Snyder?” Dan heard as he realized Tammi was calling his name for the third time.
“Yes. Ms. Simmons. Right.”
He’d nearly fully recovered and broke his stare before looking back and saying, “Ms. Clymer? It’s a pleasure to meet you. Feel free to take any open seat. This is a small class so you have plenty of options.”
The girl who’d been making the snide remarks put her feet on the open seat next to her as Kimber approached.
“The coffee pot’s in back, bitch. You might want to sit next to it so you can perform your duties when asked.”
Kimber smiled politely but didn’t respond. She took an open seat two rows further back then sat down, opened the white binder, and removed a pencil.
Dan noticed she was smiling at him and that he was still staring. He again quickly broke eye contact then thanked Ms. Simmons for personally bringing Kimber to his room.